PHILIPPINES: ROCKY ADVENTURE AT MT. SIPIT-ULANG & PAYARAN FALLS, RODRIGUEZ, RIZAL (252+masl)
“Mountains are calling and I must go”, one of the famous tagline that is commonly heard from the people who greatly enjoy outdoor activities and nature lovers.
Indeed, one of my favorite motto when it comes to mountaineering or/ trekking. It was end of July this year when I and my friends decided to explore one of the newly opened attraction in Brgy. Mascap, Rizal, Philippines called “Mount Sipit-Ulang” which has English translation as “Lobster Tongs” because of the lobster-tongs like forming its summit.
The mountain is estimated as 252+ meters above sea level (masl.) and a combination of rock, cave and mossy forest trail which can be trek for 3-6 hours from the Registration Point. The trek we had at Mt. Sipit-Ulang is the Traverse one in which we went through the “Super/Paniki Trail” (Bat Trail) to Banayad (Easy) Trail.
WHAT WILL YOU EXPECT IN THE TRAIL-
Like any other mountain, the first part of the trail is a combination of mossy and forest trail. We also had to do a lot river crossing which made our climb more challenging. We had to be cautious in every step we make because the trail is getting muddy and soil is sticking to our trekking sandals/shoes. Thankfully, the weather is good, because I can’t imagine how we will be able to reach the summit on time if it’s raining or worst our way to be foggy.
b) CAVE/ROCKY (PANIKI “Bat” TRAIL)
When I say rocky and caving, expect stepping into sharp edges of limestones and entering narrow caves. We had to do a lot of river crossing and there are chances that we had to crawl in the small hole of the caves and to climb bamboo ladders in order for us to get out to the stable ground.
c) SHARP ROCK EDGES/ROCK CLIMBING (PEAK)
In this part of the trail, I realized that one slip of your foot, you’ll probably die. LOL Nope, kidding aside, many mountain visitors neglects their safety in order for them to take pictures. That’s why, please take note of your safety, follow your gut feel and be cautious.
Mt. Sipit Ulang has two (2) peaks, first is the mini-sipit (baby lobster tongs) and second is the main summit. You can spot four (4) majestic views on the peak like Mt. Hapunang Banoi, Mt. Binacayan, Mt. Ayaas and Mt. Pamitinan and overview of the Wawa Dam located in Montalban, Rizal.
SIDETRIP at PAYARAN FALLS (Rodriguez, Rizal)
After the trek, we’ve decided to refresh ourselves at the nearest falls which is called Payaran Falls, it is a seven layer falls that surrounded by a majestic forest. The water though cold is very therapeutic after a climb.
After we secured our things at the guide’s house (highly recommend MJ and ER* forgot the name, they have a carinderia and the place where we tidied up), we are set to go to the falls. Our ride going to the falls only costs P20.00/per trip. We had a blast riding a jabal-jabal on a bumpy and muddy road. The ride is always available at the Jump-off (just courteously ask your guide for this). Some hikers decided not to ride but to take a walk going to the falls (advisable if you are already at the Jumpoff early) because the walk might take time which will be around 30-45 mins. or else take the 15-20 mins jabal-jabal ride.
HOW TO GO HERE-
If you are already in Manila, Philippines, you can ride 1) passenger bus/taxi going to Farmer’s Market, Cubao 2) van going to Eastwood/Montalban, Rizal (alight at Total Gas Station) 3) in front of the gas station, ride a tricycle going to Brgy. Mascap (Registration Point). The travel time will last 2-3 hours and the fare estimate for the back and forth will costs P500.00 ($12.00) per person. The travel route going to the Jump-off/Registration has no problem because the road is in good condition.
WHAT WILL BE THE COST-
In the registration area, the assisting chairperson will have the tourist to log their names and to sign a conforme stating that they are bound by the laws of the place and will follow safety procedures when traversing the mountain. The guide fee will cost for a) Dayhike –P500.00/5 persons and b) P700.00/5 persons up until the Payaran Falls. You can either choose traverse or just go back to the first trail.
I am not really sure if there is a camp site at the place because as far as I can remember, it can be really difficult to find a stable ground at the place because the mountain is formed by rocks and caves.
WHAT WILL YOU BRING AND RECOMMENDATION-
If the person is going on a day hike, you might want to trek while the sun is all out, I highly recommend to trek the mountain at around 5-7 early in the morning, to avoid too much heat and to also get back while there are still light. I also recommend bringing flashlight, mosquito repellant and proper gears and a quality pair of trekking sandals and trekking shoes. There is a small store near the summit, in case you forgot to bring enough liquids or got hungry.
Please be reminded to stay safe when crossing the river because there are times that the stones are so slimy and will get you slip of or when the water gets high. Also, be watchful of every step that every traveler will make in order to avoid accident. Do not bring unnecessary things like jewelry and other fancy stuffs. Make sure that you bring light packs and trail food.
When you got back at the registration area, make it a habit to sign out, for security purposes. There is also a community that will help travelers on choosing where to take a shower or where to eat. Also, tricycles are waiting just in front of the Brgy. Hall of Brgy. Mascap to drop off the hikers to the main road to go back to Manila.
Hope this helps!